As is well known, case syncretism is a phenomenon that has taken place in many Indo-European languages, and involves a reduction in the number of cases compared to the system usually reconstructed for Proto-Indo-European (Luraghi 2000). This paper will focus on the syncretism of the Indo-European dative and genitive in Old Iranian languages, devoting particular attention to the changes which occurred from Old Avestan to Young Avestan. Old Persian does not have separate forms for genitive and dative as these previously distinct grammatical categories merged into the genitive (Meillet & Benveniste 1931). Indeed, a detailed examination of Old Persian textual data reveals that the genitive expresses a variety of syntactic functions and semantic roles, cross-linguistically typical not only of the genitive, but also of the dative (Pompeo & Benvenuto 2011; Benvenuto & Pompeo 2012). As far as Avestan is concerned, the dative dies out in Young Avestan while the genitive spreads to an increasing number of fields beyond its original sphere of meaning, replacing the dative in many contexts. Regarding this, Reichelt (1909), in the section entitled ‘Der dativische Genitiv’, suggests that the high frequency of the adnominal genitive determined the progressive extension of this case at the expense of the original functions of the dative. In Young Avestan, this phenomenon evolved and eventually comprised the syntactic function of Indirect Object and the role of Recipient. The study of the Old Iranian material makes it possible to demonstrate that the decay of the dative is not due to phonological changes or to the progressive silencing of post-tonal syllables. On the contrary, it suggests that the main cause of this syncretic process is to be found in both the semantic and syntactic overlapping of genitive and dative cases. In particular, as far as the syntactic level is concerned, it is well-known that languages have a tendency to eliminate synonymous grammatical forms over time (Barðdal & Kulikov 2009). In both Old Persian and Young Avestan, the result of the syncretism is a ‘new’ genitive case, structured as a polysemic radial category, with the expression of the Possessor as its core function, while the other attested functions constitute metaphorical extensions of the Possessor. The direction of the syncretism in question is confirmed by the general drift in the evolution of both languages.
The syncretism of genitive and dative in Old Iranian / Benvenuto, Maria Carmela; Pompeo, Flavia. - (2013). ((Intervento presentato al convegno 21st International Conference of Historical Linguistics”, ICHL 21 tenutosi a Oslo; Norway.
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|Titolo:||The syncretism of genitive and dative in Old Iranian|
BENVENUTO, Maria Carmela (Corresponding author)
|Data di pubblicazione:||2013|
|Citazione:||The syncretism of genitive and dative in Old Iranian / Benvenuto, Maria Carmela; Pompeo, Flavia. - (2013). ((Intervento presentato al convegno 21st International Conference of Historical Linguistics”, ICHL 21 tenutosi a Oslo; Norway.|
|Appartiene alla tipologia:||14s Intervento a convegno non pubblicato|